Car sharing: What you should know

Car Sharing Providers

Car sharing has evolved from a private small scale green alternative for individuals to a corporate business model. From Daimler to Volkswagen many companies are now joining the car sharing market with their own concepts.

In the 1970s and 1980s anyone who declared in public that they were car sharing was usually branded as an “Eco”, someone who couldn’t afford owning car. Today this is considered hip for one can quickly get a car in Berlin, Hamburg or Munich and commute to work.

Five years ago, Daimler launched Car2Go the first independent car sharing station model, which is now available in 23 cities and seven federal states. BMW offers DriveNow in five major cities, including San Francisco. In contrast to traditional car sharing Daimler and BMW put on so-called free- floating tenders: cars are not bound to specific lending stations and can be taken anywhere in the range area.

In the metropolitan areas offers are very good, on the other hand they are poor in the countryside. In those areas customers would have to rely on private car sharing. In principle it pays off to do away with their cars. Whoever travels less than 10,000 kilometres a year car sharing is worth it.

App – Services and Minimum Costs

The location of a car is detected via the internet or a smartphone app.

To use this service, one is required to make a one-time registration fee on the homepage, which costs between 9,90 € (Multi City of Citroën) and 49€ (Ford car sharing).

The customers is then billed according to the time he rented the car and minimum rental period is usually 15 minutes, each additional minute is 0.29 cents with Car2Go, 0.24 cents with DriveNow, 0.28 cents with Multi- City and 0.20 cents with Quicar (VW ). Ford charges its customers per kilometres and requires 0.19 cents per unit or an hourly price from 1,50€.

The daily rates vary between 39€ (Multi City and Ford) and 59€( Car2Go ).

Differences from city to city

Although there seems to be a significant price differences at first glance, these offers with the exception of Berlin are rarely in direct competition with each other.

In Berlin three car manufacturers are represented namely: Car2Go,DriveNow and Multicity. While the Daimler and BMW vehicles can be collected everywhere in the city, Citroën customers have the option to switch to the C-Zero fleet to Flinkster at the train station where they can take a bike. Ford also cooperates with Flinkster remaining within its range but outside the major metropolitan areas. Volkswagen is currently only active in Hanover. Audi plans to offer car-sharing for businessmen.

Testing ground for new models and technologies

Car manufacturers are offering small cars and new e-models because car sharing is a good testing ground for new models and technologies. Since 2012 BMW introduced the all-electric BMW ActiveE at DriveNow, which the user can try without having to arrange for a test drive. It is also a chance to confront many prejudices about electric cars. In 2014 the E- mobile was included in the program i3.

Daimler Smart for two for Car2Go increasingly relies on electric cars while Citroën has pure electric fleet in Berlin. This way Citroën can provide practical technical innovations to its customers. 

Critique offered by the manufacturer

The organisation of car sharing (Bundesverband Car-sharing) said that car sharing should protect the environment and ensure that cars are used less often. However the current offers are primarily focused on short trips in urban areas, where public transport can be used. In addition, it would be used with vehicles such as the Smart not models in which can accommodate an entire family.

Consequences for public transport

The Traffic Club Germany is of the opinion that the increased use of car sharing in Germany will not harm the public transport. It is unlikely that many users of public transport will switch to car sharing. Although car sharing is only about half as expensive as taking a taxi, public transport is significantly cheaper.

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